The RAC has added the Renault Zoe to its fleet on a trial basis, becoming the first major breakdown service company to run an electric patrol van.
The firm has taken delivery of the new van version of the French city car, launched last year, which it says is “one of the few EVs on the market capable of carrying the necessary tools and parts needed to fix four out of five breakdowns on the spot”.
The Zoe, with an official range of 245 miles, will be primarily used to deal with the two most common breakdown types: flat batteries and flat tyres. It will carry up to six replacement 12V car batteries, two tyres, a trolley jack, a battery tester, the RAC Scan diagnostic tool and a host of standard patrol tools.
The Zoe isn't certified to tow, unlike the RAC’s current fleet of larger, diesel-engined vans, so it will be focused on roadside operations in urban and rural areas, rather than recovery.
RAC group operations director Paul Coulton said: “We're very excited to be putting our first electric zero-emissions patrol van into service.
“We've been assessing various electric vans for some time but have been frustrated by the fact there isn’t one on the market that can do what our diesel-powered patrol vans can do at the moment, in terms of carrying 500 parts and tools and towing broken-down vehicles, with a range that’s even half what one of our standard vans can do on a full tank.
“While we continue to talk to manufacturers about our requirements, we’re confident we can put an electric RAC patrol van into effective use on the road by carefully deploying it to jobs that won’t require towing.